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Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Australian Literature: Inventing the Past (ENG2TAL / ENG3TAL)


y separately published work icon The Best Australian Poems 2010 Robert Adamson (editor), Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2010 Z1745202 2010 anthology poetry (taught in 2 units)

'Selected by one of Australia's most acclaimed poets, this inspired collection captures the richness and scope of present-day Australian verse. It features innovative and exciting poems - many published here for the first time - from our best-known poets as well as daring and insightful works from rising stars.

Together they create a lively sense of conversation, of voices criss-crossing the continent, exploring the many themes that animated and inspired the nation's poets in 2010.' (From the Publisher's website)

y separately published work icon Don's Party David Williamson , 1971 1971 (Manuscript version)x402002 Z1505961 1971 single work drama satire (taught in 17 units)
y separately published work icon The Australian Long Story Mandy Sayer (editor), Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2009 Z1629549 2009 anthology short story prose novella autobiography (taught in 2 units)

'In this collection, acclaimed writer Mandy Sayer brings together nine of the best Australian examples of the long story - tales that combine the intensity of the short story with the complexity of a novel.

In these stories, characters grow up, hook up and break up, endure calamitous loss and discover delectable love, travel to faraway places and fifi nd themselves right back where they started. From the exotic to the familiar, the sensuous to the dangerous, these soaring flights of the imagination boldly traverse the vast terrain of human experience.

Showcasing the talents of some of our most loved and awarded authors, this invigorating collection is an excellent introduction to an often overlooked art form, promising to enchant all lovers of Australian fiction.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Wild Surmise Dorothy Porter , Sydney : Picador , 2002 Z982831 2002 single work novel (taught in 6 units)

'Alex Leefson is astronomy's glamour girl, in love with the satellite Europa and the equally unreachable Phoebe. Meanwhile, her husband Daniel mourns the demise of his marriage and his life. Full of Dorothy Porter's customary bite and sensuality, Wild Surmise is an engrossing duet between two passionately estranged voices. An intensely moving verse novel of passions and vulnerabilities, love and death.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Fast, Loose Beginnings : A Memoir of Intoxications John Kinsella , Carlton : Melbourne University Publishing , 2006 Z1285450 2006 single work autobiography (taught in 2 units)

'Fast, Loose Beginnings is a racy anecdotal memoir of John Kinsella's meetings with the great and colourful men and women of poetry. Since his late teens, Kinsella has been rubbing shoulders and working with a host of acclaimed poets. The book opens with Kinsella on a bender in search of Dorothy Hewett, and goes on to tell the story of his friendships and massive fallings-out through the highs and lows of addiction.

'In this contentious account, Kinsella weaves his impressions of these figures personally, with a lively and incisive commentary on their place within the broader literary culture. Here, in good company, are intimate portraits of Dorothy Hewett, Les Murray, American literary critic Harold Bloom and French philosopher Jacques Derrida, as they have never been seen before. As a highly respected poet and critic, Kinsella brings clarity and biting irreverence to the writer's life, making this encounter with literature vividly alive.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon All My Mob Ruby Langford Ginibi , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2007 Z1381114 2007 selected work autobiography (taught in 3 units)

'This ... collection of stories features a foreword by Dr Pam Johnston that places Ruby’s anecdotes in the context of a country which seems incapable of healing its past or of creating a better future for Indigenous people. Featuring the best stories from Ruby’s Real Deadly, plus many unpublished gems dating as far back as 1992, All My Mob’s portrayal of family life, ‘home’, and life as an Aborigine in today’s Australia is fascinating, often confronting and unforgettable.' (Source: UQP website:

y separately published work icon The Best Australian Poetry 2009 Alan Wearne (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2009 Z1626831 2009 anthology poetry (taught in 2 units)

'The Best Australian Poetry 2009 celebrates the originality and verve of Australian poetry at this moment. In this collection of 40 poems Alan Wearne brings long experience as a poet and teacher of poetry, and a sharp eye for the surprising. Bookended with an introduction by Wearne and the poets' commentary on their work, this year's collection is a sophisticated and accessible sampling of recent achievements in Australian poetry.' (From the publisher's website.)

Biographical notes on the contributing poets are included, together with a substantial comment by each poet their selected poem.

y separately published work icon The Best Australian Essays 2010 Robert Drewe (editor), Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2010 Z1731494 2010 anthology essay (taught in 2 units)

'This year's Best Australian Essays offers riveting snapshots of the nation's "current loves and angers, its art and myths and amusements and gender concerns - and its propensity for bushfires."

'From Alex Miller on the creative imagination to Mark Dapin on crime myths, from Amanda Hooton on Miss Universe to Tim Flannery on the inner lives of animals, this is a collection that takes the pulse of the nation's writers and thinkers and finds them in rude health.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon The Best Australian Stories 2010 Cate Kennedy (editor), Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2010 Z1745164 2010 anthology short story extract (taught in 2 units)

'In The Best Australian Stories 2010, Cate Kennedy presents a seductive line-up of the year's most exciting short fiction, featuring the best work from publications around the country alongside pieces published here for the first time. ...

By turns playful, heart-wrenching, intimate and exuberant, these twenty-nine stories reveal the strength and variety of Australian fiction today. The authors include first-timers as well as established masters, and the result is a stimulatingly diverse collection. ' (From the Publisher's website)

y separately published work icon Trouble : Evolution of a Radical : Selected Writings 1970-2010 Kate Jennings , Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2010 Z1673296 2010 selected work essay poetry prose (taught in 2 units)

'In 1970 Kate Jennings, twenty-one, stunned a Sydney anti-war rally with a pull-no-punches speech that put "women's lib" on the map. Brave, impassioned and searing, the speech set the tone for the idiosyncratic career that was to follow. A few years later, she was on her way to New York, where she would make her name as a writer and enjoy a ringside seat at some of the most confronting events of our time.

'Trouble collects Jennings's best work from the last four decades. With a polemical anger tempered by a keen sense of the absurd and a fiercely independent streak, she writes incisively about politics, morality, finance, feminism and the writing life. She describes America with the keen eye of an outsider and looks back at Australia with an expatriate's frankness.

'Trouble is both an unconventional autobiography and a record of remarkable times. From the protest movements of the 1970s, via Wall Street's heyday and dramatic collapse, to the historic election of Barack Obama, Jennings captures the shifts - seismic and subtle, personal and political - that brought us to where we are now. After four decades, Kate Jennings' work is as exhilarating and impossible to categorise - shocking with the shock of recognition - as the day it was written.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Contemporary Indigenous Plays Windmill Baby, Rainbow's End, King Hit, Bitin' Back, Black Medea Larissa Behrendt (editor), Vivienne Cleven (editor), Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2007 Z1366759 2007 anthology drama (taught in 12 units)

'Five plays from around the country which illustrate that the rich tradition of indigenous storytelling is flourishing in contemporary Australian theatre.' (Source:

y separately published work icon Oscar and Lucinda Peter Carey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1988 Z359704 1988 single work novel (taught in 7 units)

'Oscar Hopkins is an Oxford seminarian with a passion for gambling. Lucinda Leplastrier is a Sydney heiress with a fascination for glass. The year is 1864. When they meet on the boat to Australia their lives will be forever changed ...'

(Source: Publisher's website)

y separately published work icon The Bride Stripped Bare Nikki Gemmell , London : Fourth Estate , 2003 Z987747 2003 single work novel (taught in 4 units) A woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the Good Wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who's discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. Inspired by a manuscript written by an anonymous Elizabethan woman who dared to speak of what women truly desire, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is, How long can she sustain a perilous double life?" "In writing The Bride Stripped Bare, the author decided to remain anonymous so she would feel absolutely free to explore a woman's inner world. As she writes in her afterword, "That doesn't mean this book is a memoir; it's many things to me, fiction and nonfiction, fantasy and fact, a quilt pieced together not only from my stories but those of my friends. (Source: Trove)


Australian literature has been seen as interested in trying to locate a specifically Australian identity. In this unit we consider twentieth and twenty-first century Australian writing which is in some way concerned with identifying Australian place, nationality, character and landscape through representations of the past. We examine the various ways in which history is used to present or contest versions of Australia.


one 3,000-word essay 50%, one examination 50%

Other Details

Offered in: 2009
Current Campus: Bundoora
Levels: Undergraduate